Danah Boyd – Crib sheet

Some people have complained that Danah Boyd’s article is a little wordy.  I perpared this short crib sheet to boil down her message (as I saw it).  I think that these characteristics are what creates the advantages and dangers of social media.  To clarify an earlier point, once these are understood, we will know better what we can do, and better of what we should be careful.  These are the charactersitics that governs public discourse and social spaces over the internet:

The Nature of Social Media –Digital Social Spaces

 Citation: Danah Boyd. (2010). “Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications.” In Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture onSocial Network Sites (ed. Zizi Papacharissi), pp. 39-58.

Public spaces have 4 essential characteristics that regulate their uses create their central dynamics:

1. Persistence: online expressions are automatically recorded and archived.

“The persistence of conversations in networked publics is ideal for asynchronous conversations, but it also raises new concerns when it can be consumed outside of its original context.”

2. Replicability: content made out of bits can be duplicated.

“…the content produced in networked publics is easily replicable. Copies are inherent to these systems. In a world of bits, there is no way to differentiate the original bit from its duplicate. And, because bits can be easily modified, content can be transformed in ways that make it hard to tell which is the source and which is the alteration. The replicable nature of content in networked publics means that what is replicated may be altered in ways that people do not easily realize.”

3. Scalability: the potential visibility of content in networked publics is great.

“Scalability in networked publics is about the possibility of tremendous visibility, not the guarantee of it. The property of scalability does not necessarily scale what individuals want to have scaled or what they think should be scaled, but what the collective chooses to amplify.”

4. Searchability: content in networked publics can be accessed through search

“Search has become a commonplace activity among Internet users.

As people use technologies that leave traces, search takes on a new role.” 

Central Dynamics in Networked Publics

 Invisible audiences: not all audiences are visible when a person is contributing online, nor are they necessarily co-present.

  • Collapsed contexts: the lack of spatial, social, and temporal boundaries makes it difficult to maintain distinct social contexts.
  • The blurring of public and private: without control over context, public and private become meaningless binaries, are scaled in new ways, and are difficult to maintain as distinct.
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